Early season in Top 14, but that doesn’t mean we can’t go ahead and make barely informed predictions. I won’t go so far as to predict all out winners, but here are some thoughts on this weekend’s matches, based on our latest Power Rankings.
- Toulouse (Ranked #3) vs. Castres (#7). This is your classic top-half teams facing each other kind of match-up. Toulouse have invested heavily this past off-season, bringing in some impressive names, such as Toby Flood and Corey Flynn. The reports say that they have Top 14’s top budget. How will they handle a solid team in Castres?
- Brive (#8) vs. Clermont (#2). Brive opened the first weekend with a huge win that probably flattered more than it ought to. Clermont are a title challenger. I doubt that they are afraid of trying to steal a win on the road.
Worth a look:
- Toulon (#1) vs. La Rochelle (#14). Toulon are the favourites in Top 14 (the link above suggests that much of their financial clout is not counted on the books the way Toulouse and Clermont are), they will not fear the newly promoted La Rochelle.
- Montpellier (#4) vs. Grenoble (#11). All the other big clubs had wins to open the season, this is a must for Montpellier against a weak Grenoble.
- Bordeaux Begles (#9) vs. Racing Metro (#5). Two games played on the road, two wins for Racing Metro?
- Stade Français (#6) vs. Lyon (#13). Could be a good week for the boys in pink to search for a full 5 points.
Only for the hard-core:
- Bayonne (#12) vs. Oyonnax (#10). Possible relegation candidates playing each other. ‘Nuff said.